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The Great Irish Rake Off

The island of squander and scandal

Sometimes we wonder if Ireland, once the land of saints and scholars, could nowadays be more correctly called an island of squander and scandal. ISME has asked before, and will do so again here, that investigative journalists turn their attention to the massive waste of public funds that the Comptroller and Auditor General itemises year after year. His latest fritter files, just published, include;

  • The massive loss incurred at what was meant to have been a prison in Thornton Hall.
  • The Eircode system that is already out of date.
  • Irregularities in school meals payments where the State paid for more meals than there were students to eat them.

These are only a flavour of what’s contained in the C&AG’s account.

Warning; we strongly recommend a visit to your GP for sedation before the reading the full report

Every euro that has gone missing or that has been misspent is a euro that could have been used to cure the chronic illness afflicting our hospitals or building houses for the homeless. Is it only business people who can do the joined up thinking and see the double whammy of wanton waste for which no one is held accountable? Money wasted is money that can’t be spent properly, elsewhere.

20 years athinking about doing something

When things go wrong in the private sector incompetents lose their jobs; dishonest people get fired and frequently face criminal prosecution. Public Accounts Committee chairman John McGuinness @JMcGuinnessTD commented on the report that “The waste of public money will not end unless civil servants responsible can be fired.” He also said that the C&AG’s office “…should be given powers to name specific civil servants who are guilty of causing waste through either negligence or poor performance.” However, Mr. McGuinness, a Fianna Fáil TD for nearly two decades, has had plenty of time to do something about it but hasn’t got around to it yet. Neither has any other party. That would be a step too far for our ‘leaders’.

A truly great RTE blockbuster

One of the great TV moments on RTE in recent years was watching @davidmurphyRTE accosting Michael Fingleton in Dublin Airport asking him about alleged wrongdoing. It drew a huge audience, just like RTE says it wants to do all the time. So, here’s an ISME idea. Every year the C&AG produces enough material for @RTE to chase down dozens if not hundreds of senior public sector wasters whose departments he has conveniently identified for alleged wrongdoing. Now who amongst you wouldn’t watch the a programme called the Excess Factor or The Great Irish Rake Off as journalists posing as junior civil servants suddenly pounce on Secretaries General or Department Heads asking them, for the first time ever, to account for themselves? If the State broadcaster (sorry, I think we’ve spotted the first glitch!) took on this project, we at ISME will gladly donate any royalties accruing for creating this programme format to the RTE Benevolent Fund. #anytakers